I was browsing through social media when I noticed a really interesting article, which you’ll find via the link above. Apparently, for the first time in Hartford, USA, a number of girl scouts are joining the boy scouts. Or to put it another way, a more mixed scout group.
Although I welcome the movement, it’s not exactly the first time that’s occurred, which I shall go into detail about in a bit. As many people may know, the Scout Association was founded by Robert Baden Powell, a former soldier, in 1910 and incorporated in 1912. For some decades, the gender groups were separate. This was until 1976 when somewhere in the UK, the girls were allowed access to the Venture Scouts which at the time was aimed for those in their late-teens. Although there are mixed gender groups nowadays, it seemed very rare back when I was a member of the Association. I’m a former Scout member myself.
When I was a primary school student, my brother was already a member and my mom persuaded me to have a go. First I joined Beavers, which is like the first level. I was six at the time. Then as I reached the age of eight, I ‘graduated’ to Cubs. I’d say I found that part of the Association more memorable. I didn’t go to Scouts, as in the third level, because I had quit before I joined. One reason being was because at the time I was still in Cubs even though I had just entered Year 6 in the school year and thought, “I should be in Scouts by now”. But another reason was that I started to get bored with it and wanted to do other things.
Looking back, I didn’t find the experience too bad. I do have fond memories of being a member of the Scout Association. I can remember the games we participated in i.e. Traffic Lights, Dead Lions, the beans game, Frog On A Log (In The Pond), some to name. I can also remember the songs we sang. One of them, which makes me laugh just think about it, was the Coca Cola song sung to the tune of Frere Jacques (“Coca Cola x2, Makes you burp x 2, Have another bottle x2, Burp burp burp x2”). I remember singing the belching song to the tune of Bingo. It went like this; “there was a man who opened his mouth, and this is what came out of it”, and then I took a sip of water and ensured it was still in my esophagus by the time I sang “B-U-R-P” and then belch. I did that three times and then I sang “Of course it was a” and then belch. Those were good times. Plus I can’t think of anybody I didn’t get on with.
But the con was that neither the Beavers group nor the Cubs group were mixed, gender-wise. It was just boys, aside from the group leaders. It was like being in a same-sex school and I’m lucky I didn’t go to a boys school. However, it seemed odd. I remember one of the boys once quoting “girls don’t go to Beavers”. I couldn’t remember if it was at that or Cubs. Sometime later, my mom said that “girls go to Rainbows/Brownies”. Apparently, she wanted to join when she was younger, but didn’t due to financial reasons. The next thing I noticed, when I moved on to Cubs, we each had a handbook and I remember seeing some pictures on the front cover and there was one of boys and girls mixing together. I thought “wait a minute, of course girls do go to Scout clubs. How come we ain’t mixing?”
Oh well. I’m not saying all that just to be PC. I just think that it’d be a great opportunity to include both boys and girls in a Scout Group. Therefore, and even though it’s strange that the movement has not occurred before in Hartford, may it commence!